• Randy's Origins Experience

    Iím sure you will, or already have, read plenty of reports from Origins. Hereís mine.

    Less than a week before Origins, I was settling on my team. I would not be playing in the U.S. National tournament, as I only went to one WKO this year, and failed to qualify. I would be playing in the first of two Worlds Qualifiers. Someone brought up a good point to me at the convention: If Canadian Nationals had the same prize/qualification structure as U.S. Nationals, my Top 4 finish there would have been enough to get me qualified for Worlds. That is interesting. I wonder what the reasoning WizKids has for changing up the prize structure between the same level events at different locations. A question for another day. I only bring that up to explain why I was playing in the Worlds Qualifier.

    I decided to run my Mask/Ring team from Canada. I had decent success with it there, and had only learned from those experiences. I knew Iíd face more Bards. I knew Iíd likely face this Championship Canadian team again. I knew Bard teams would be popular, as would other Mask/Ring teams. I made one substitution from my team in Canada, and wanted to walk you guys through the process, because itís an interesting change.

    I took off Bard. I know, heís a great card. And on a Mask/Ring team, heís a dandy alternate win condition. But I knew others would be running Mask/Ring. Maybe I was naÔve, but I thought my Mask/Ring team was really good. I started wondering ďWhat do I do in a mirror match?Ē And the answer was ďNothing.Ē A mirror match would suck, running in to an opposing Raven and OP Scarecrow. OP Scarecrow can not only throw up a huge roadblock in front of Bard, but it can also seriously put a hindrance on other Ring teams. How could I justify bringing a secondary win condition that can be shut down by something that also shuts down my primary win condition? It was a hard call, but I cut the Bard. I needed something different. Here were a few of my options:

    SR Ronin: This was my initial thought, because this is what would have saved my butt in Canada. Ronin is a great answer to Cloudkill. It could also help me against anyone trying to be cute and run Green Goliath, dragons with Breath Weapon, or Delayed Fireball. The downside? It doesnít help me in the mirror match, at all. And if I wasnít bringing Bard in fear of the mirror, how could I justify Ronin who wouldnít help me either. So letís look at things that specifically help me against the mirror. More importantly, things that help me against OP Scarecrow.

    Zombie Gladiator: No matter what face heís on, he can attack in to Scarecrow. With all the other mask characters on my team, itís safe to assume heís getting a +4 bonus at a minimum. I had grand ideas of being able to purchase him, attack with some characters, then use Polymorph to swap him in for an unblocked sidekick. But heís too easy to chump block. And without running MJ, I have no way to give him Overcrush. Heís also not protected by Raven, him being a bolt character and all. I did play a few games with him. And even won once because of him. But I felt like he just didnít help me quite enough. Moving on.

    Prismatic Spray: I considered this because I know how much it can mess with my team. This was probably the clubhouse leader for a while. But it didnít help me at all against Bard. And since I knew thatís what Iíd likely be facing the most, I wanted some versatility. So it was time to do some in depth searching.

    I went to dm.retrobox.eu and limited my search to Mask characters, and organized them by level 1 attack values. I scrolled down to 3 attack, and evaluated every character I saw. I wanted the Mask synergy, and I wanted at least 3 attack on level 1, so if I used Polymorph to bring this character in, it could attack in to the Scarecrow. I saw the FUS Beholder. He had pretty good stats for the cost. And could let my use free globals if that opposing Mask/Ring had Oracle. But eventually, I found this guyÖ

    Bronze Dragon, Minion Dragon: 4 cost, Breath Weapon 1. Mask energy. Attack values of 3, 4, 5. This was it. This gave me the option against Mask/Ring teams to get by Scarecrow, and deal damage. I could even opt to trigger my Lantern Ring, checking for masks, before Breath Weapon, where I could pay with one of said masks. And the thing I worry about Bard teams is them slowly building up their force, using Spray, and attacking with everything. The Breath Weapon here could keep those forces in check, making sure they donít amass an army of sidekicks or squirrel tokens. So this was my final spot. The Bronze Dragon. I ran it on my team about 5 or 6 times before Origins, but never had to purchase him. Despite that, I didnít change my mind. I still decided that he was the option I wanted there. So, HERE is the link to my team.

    I get to Origins, meet up with the TRP crew, play a few practice games against Stuart (where I beat him 2-1). We got started.

    Game 1 against Craig. Craig was running a classic Bard Blitz team with Imprisoned. He didnít particularly have anything that targeted my characters. So I wasnít going to need Raven for protection. So I cut her out of my strategy this game. My gameplan was going as planned. Elf Thief first turn. Polymorph second turn while maintaining ramp. Polyíd in Oracle to wreck his ramp. I gambled a little bit here, knowing he had an Imprisoned in his full bag, leaving my Oracle in the field. It paid off, he didnít get it. Even if he did, I was sitting on full ramp, and brought more dice for Oracle than any of my other 4 costs specifically because of Imprisoned. My next turn, Imprisoned was likely coming for him next. I fielded Elf Thief, used his BEWD global to KO my Oracle, bought my Bronze Dragon, Polyíd it in for the Thief, and attacked with Breath Weapon, killing a few of his sidekicks. I was still sitting on a couple of masks, but wanted to get my Bronze Dragon and Oracle both off the board to avoid Imprisoned. Figured Iíd keep up my ramp and keep striking like this. He did roll Imprisoned his next turn on an action face, so I made the right call. After a few more turns of guerilla striking, I attacked with the Dragon, Oracle, Scarecrow, and a sidekick. He only had 2 blockers after I used Breath Weapon. Once blockers were declared, I was able to use the Polymorph global to spin down my Bronze Dragon, spin up a Scarecrow, and have just enough for lethal. Game 1: Bronze Dragon won me the game. I felt so justified for bringing him. 1-0

    (Side note: I think JT, Stuart, and some others I discussed my team with thought I was a little crazy for bringing Bronze Dragon. ďI donít know, I think there are some better options out there.Ē Is what I kept hearing. I went with my gut and it paid off round 1. I told them he won me my first round and they laughed. ďOf course he did.Ē)

    Game 2 was against a gentleman who I donít remember the name ofÖ sorry. He ran a Mask/Ring team as well, but there was no Raven or Scarecrow. He was using the 3-cost AvX Storm that rerolls opposing characters. I looked at the teams and thought to myself that I had this one. Iíd likely go for Raven and Scarecrow before Oracle. If I got those two established in the field, I didnít feel like he had any way to remove them, since he couldnít target because of Raven, and him attacking with Elf Thief, Storm, and Morphing Jar were unlikely due to Scarecrow. He went first, but I got my rolls, got Raven out there. He fielded Storm on level 3Ö her only face with more than 2 attack. He bought his Lantern Ring early, and attacked with Storm turn 4 or so for like 7 damage. At least 5 of those masks were from Sidekick dice. Youíve gotta be kidding me. Ok, I get Scarecrow in to keep him from attacking with his Thieves as well. I figured next time around, hopefully he purchases a die for me to use Polymorph on Storm, to bring in something that canít attack with Scarecrow out. I was at 12 life, and he was rolling quite a few dice. He rolled a level 3 Elf Thief, double mask energy on another Elf Thief, and 4 masks on sidekicks. Game. He absolutely needed level 3 characters to beat me and he got them. As well as seemingly endless supply of masks on sidekick dice. Ugh, I really felt I was doing well. He just got the rolls he absolutely needed. Oh well. 1-1

    Game 3 was against Remington from Arrowstar Games. I knew the name from Facebook, but this was my first time meeting him. He was running a classic Big Entrance with Guy Gardner and Miri team. He also had Casey Jones, Superwoman, and the Iron Man with the bolt-fueled villain-maker global. I went first. I feel like this one was over before it began. Remingtonís strategy was going to be to attack with Guy Gardner and Casey Jones, making any of my non-villain characters in to villains so a buffed up Guy could waltz through unblocked. Raven kept him from targeting my characters to turn them to villains. Scarecrow kept him from being able to attack with multiple characters to buff Guy. Oracle kept him from being able to ramp. He started off with some bad rolls, and with him having no way to remove my characters, it was a slow death. Even if his rolls would have been better, I think the match-up of meta calls favored my team. I got my Lantern Ring. I bought some Jars, and just kept ramping and building until it came up roses. 2-1

    Game 4 was againstÖ RussellÖ I believe. He was from a game store in Columbus where 7 of their guys brought the same Vicious Struggle team. He went first. I had a strategy and stuck to it. I wouldnít buy any of his Vicious Struggles. I knew I had the tools to beat him without it. I went Elf Thief turn 1, Oracle turn 2. I didnít bother with Polymorph. I knew he wouldnít be attacking with any characters, and he had one basic action that could target: Slander. As good as I knew it could be against my Oracle, I didnít think that basic action alone justified me purchasing Raven for protection. I got Elf Thief and Oracle both out turn 3, bought another Elf Thief and kept up ramp. Whenever I fielded an Elf Thief, I immediately used his Parallax global to reroll my own Elf Thief. If it came up energy, I could decide if I wanted to re-Parallax, trying to refiled and steal more energy, or just keep my energy for ramp. Without needing Raven or Scarecrow, I jumped straight to my Lantern Ring. With his ramp killed, he was never able to amass a big turn. I got my Ring in play, and attacked for the win. Going 2nd to Vicious Struggle, not caving in to buy his Vicious Struggle, coming away with a win. That felt good. 3-1

    Game 5 was againstÖ sorry. I forgot. But another gentleman from that same Columbus shop, running the same Vicious Struggle team. Well, I knew my strategy. I knew it worked. Letís see if I can go first this time and get my rolls. Ha! Of course Iím not going first. Things were going well, just as before. Opponent had 2 Kobolds in the field, had 1 in their Reserve, Slander on an energy face, a sidekick, a Vicious Struggle on an action face, a bolt, and a shield all after the reroll. I tell you this because I felt very good at this point. I was down to 16 life, but I know I had some decent control on the board, 5 dice in my bag, 1 of which was my Lantern Ring. I felt good. He paid 2 for Parallax (thanks to Oracle). So he rolled his Slander, 3 Kobolds, and sidekick. Slander came up an action. All 3 Kobolds came up double energy. Sidekick came up ď?Ē. He used Vicious Struggle. He used Slander on my Oracle to get rid of the global tax. Then used the Luke Cage global 7 times, dealing my 14 damage, taking me down to 2 life himself down to 9. You have got to be kidding. That was absolutely perfect for him, and I donít even want to figure out what the odds were of that happeningÖ I felt a little sick to my stomach seeing that. But it wasnít over. I had 4 dice in my prep, I was about to draw 4 more. If I could find a way to deal 9 damage to him before Vicious Struggle responds, I win. I reach in andÖ Lantern Ring is the one die I didnít pull. Ok. Iím rolling 8 sidekicks. I have potentially 4 damage showing in my field (level 2 Oracle, and level 2 Elf Thief. But Iím counting on Polymorph global to spin down Oracle and spin up Elf Thief. 4 damage). I roll all 8 dice: 2 sidekicks. I reroll the other 6: 1 sidekick. I Parallax all I can not getting another sidekick. I could have done 7 damageÖ but not 9. I have Oracle in the field and pass the turn. He rolls 4 dice, gets 4 energy, 2 of which are fists. He can Luke Cage global twice and itís game over. I didnít figure a 4-2 team would be able to make the Top 8 to qualify. So I really needed to go 5-1 or 4-1-1. Didnít happen. 3-2.

    Game 6 was against Jacob Masur. I met Jacob last year at U.S. Nationals, and have been Facebook friends with him since. It was truly a pleasure to reconnect with him. I still say that even knowing the outcome of the game. It wasnít a fun game for either of us. He went first. My first turn I rolled fist, fist, shield, sidekick. Well, no ramp. But I bought Polymorph and fielded my sidekick, just hoping to get all masks next turn and salvage some kind of start. My second turn I got sidekick, sidekick, shield, ď?Ē. So, I fielded my sidekicks, bought Elf Thief. I was nowhere near full ramp, but my bag was thinned of sidekicks a bit. I was still optimistic. I pulled 3 sidekicks and Elf Thief. Rolled. Crap. I think it was fist, shield, bolt, and Elf Thief on a character face with no energy in Jacobís Reserve to steal. I asked him if we could just start over. We laughed. He beat me swiftly. We played another game immediately after, since our first game took only a couple minutes. This second game went longer and I eeked out the win. But I lost the one that counted. 3-3

    So, I finished 3-3. But I told people it wasnít the surprising popularity of Vicious Struggle or the onslaught of Bards that got me. In 2 games my opponents had great luck and in 1 game I had terrible luck. Thatís all it was. Thatís usually what happens in tournaments of this caliber. Thereís typically very little margin between finishing in the middle of the pack and winning the whole thing. If I would have returned for Qualifier #2 I wouldnít have changed anything on my team. When I play JTís U.S. National Championship team at the dining room table, we can go toe to toe, usually resulting in the first player winning. Iím confident in my team and my piloting of this team. Sometimes you bring a team to an event and you just feel woefully unprepared. Either you arenít comfortable with a team, or you face something you donít have answers to. That wasnít the case here. Lady luck spit in my face, and I finished .500. I took a step back and let that soak in. Wow. I didnít bomb out, and drop halfway through the event. I didnít get steamrolled in any of my matches. My unsuccessful day resulted in finishing .500, and based on the final rankings, 28th place out of 63 entrants. I finished in the top half of a World Qualifier when the rolls DIDNíT go my way.

    I wish I could have tried again for the second Qualifier, but it just wasnít in the cards this year. Or Dice. Whatever. Enter gaming pun here. I hope everyone at the event had as much fun as I did, meeting new and old friends. It would take far too long to name everyone I connected with. I love you guys. I love this community.

    Roll on.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      I personally love that you went Bronze Dragon and had a strategy to get there and use it well. And as always it was fun seeing you!
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      I appreciate the write-up randy! Have you tried any of the CW Venom's with your team yet?
    1. zeon20's Avatar
      zeon20 -
      Personally, I think your bronze dragon choice is good. Dragon breathe weapon is really good at controling a bard team because they can whipe out any sidekicks a bard would use to pump their field. Combo with blink/distarction, and you have a on demand board whipe for weenie characters.